Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Streetview, Anyone?

Maybe I'll stick with Mapquest or Yahoo Maps.

Actually, I still like Google Maps best.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Tools

Neue Handwerkzeug.

Last Thursday, I went to University of Central Florida's Decision Days. You bring your transcripts, a check, and they can tell if you're in right there. I went to find out what I'd need to get in. As it turned out, I need just one more non IT class; German II. I took German I at Jacksonville State University in Alabama in 1983, but when I took German II at University of Georgia, I had to drop out of school during that semester, and never finished the class. So, I have to take to finish that requirement now.

Life is way different that it was in 1984. Back then, I had a text book to help me, and a few Berlitz Phrasebooks. We weren't allowed to copy the schools audio tapes, so I got no help there.

Now, in the matter of four hours, I was able to subscribe and download ten different German language study podcasts, 'preview' a full audio series, download free and 'previewed' software, bookmarked about fifteen German language teaching websites, and downloaded free German/English dictionaries for my Pocket PC. Since Thursday, I've gone through four lessons of the audio files, four lessons on the software, and practice some phrases with Nancy. I've got more files in my downloading hopper, and I'm about ready to use old business cards to label everything in the house.

Yeah. Life is different than it was in 1984. The accessibility to educational material is incredible. This is a big part of the reason I want to be involved with the delivery of educational content. By setting up kids with Edubuntu computers, I'm helping in a small way. If I can get many more of those machines out, I'll be helping in a large way.

Being an information junkie, this accessibility is intoxicating for me. Some would think it overwhelming. For me, it's like a kid in a candy store. I want it all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

And I Thought It's Cold In Florida

This happened off the coast of Newfoundland.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Geek Reading

I know it's hard to believe, but Geeks do indeed read. Not just web sites, tech manuals, and hacker instructions, but actual, honest-to-G~D fiction. That's right - Geek stories actually exist.

Geek Mafia
Right now, I'm reading Geek Mafia, by Rick Dakan:

Here's the blurb about the book:
Fired from a job he hated at a company he loved, videogame designer Paul Reynolds is drowning his sorrows in late-morning margaritas when he meets an alluring, pink-haired conwoman named Chloe. With her gang of techno-pirate friends, Chloe helps Paul not only take revenge on his former employers, but also extort a small fortune from them in the process. What more could a recently unemployed, over-worked videogame designer in Silicon Valley ask for?

I like Geek Mafia because the story uses actual technology hackers/crackers use. Anyone in Network Security should read Geek Mafia. The author's writing style needs practice and polish, but like I say, "A good story will beat poor style." Dakan's style isn't poor, by any means, but there are parts in the story where there's a bit too much telling instead of showing. But, the story of Geek Mafia is just plain good.

You can even download a free copy of Geek Mafia here. You can choose the format you want. If you click on the picture above, you can download the .pdf file of the book.

Here's Rick Dakan doing a talk about his book at PhreakNIC - a hacker convention:

And here's a link to the book on Amazon:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
This book isn't available yet, but when Neil Gaiman recommends something, I listen:
"I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year, and I'd want to get it into the hands of as many smart 13 year olds, male and female, as I can."

"Because I think it'll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won't be the same after they've read it. Maybe they'll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it'll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they'll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they'll want to open their computer and see what's in there. I don't know. It made me want to be 13 again right now and reading it for the first time, and then go out and make the world better or stranger or odder. It's a wonderful, important book, in a way that renders its flaws pretty much meaningless."

Little Brother is about some hacker kids in San Francisco. Here's a blurb from Cory about the book:

"...hackers who declare war on the Department of Homeland Security. Every chapter has got a real-world how-to about why homeland security does not work, and how you can defeat it. And it talks about the math and computer science and information science behind the war on terrorism, the junk science behind the war on terrorism. But it's also meant to be an instruction kit for teaching kids to be culture jammers and technology jammers. I've been calling it Encyclopedia Brown meets The Anarchist Cookbook. My editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, called it Wikipedia Brown. So I just finished it, and finished the outline of book two. It's a two book series."

I've added a countdown button to the release of Little Brother on the right side of the page. I'm a Doctorow fan, not only in Cory's fiction but his activist efforts too. Here's a link to the Little Brother MySpace page:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow MySpace Page

The next book isn't a fiction, and I haven't read it yet. I highly intend too asap.
The Pirate's Dilemma - by Matt Mason
Here's a pretty cool presentation about the book:

And here's a link to the book on Amazon. You can read through the first few pages:

I hope this book comes out with an audio version soon.

Read up, folks.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Alex 2.0 is here

Baby Alex Khoury was released at 11:38pm Thursday, January 10, 2007. The new package seems very stable, with no evident bugs to report, and mostly no problems. Alex Khoury 2.0 does require A LOT of dependencies: Blankey 2007, libmilk 4.5, Diaper 8.0 -which seems to require several daily updates, and many other packages. Unfortunately, Baby Alex comes with no documentation. But, like Linux, Baby Alex has a HUGE community of volunteers to help with the information of experience with previous Baby releases. One interesting thing about Baby package releases: Each package seems to be specifically designed only for the new user. There are occasional, but rare duplicates sent, and some users will receive more than one baby package at time. With all the dependencies involved with Baby, more than one seems like a lot of work with dependencies, especially the Diaper dependency.

Actually, I'm not sure if this release of Baby Alex is 2.0. It could be 10.0, for all I know. I'll ask the project's namesake later. I am aware that the Alex project does have 3 major forks, but they all seem to cooperate quite well.

Congrats to the Baby Alex team. Well done.

KDE 4.0 is here

KDE 4.0 is here, and it looks pretty good. On the lottalinuxlinks podcast #59, Dave Yates interviewed Rich Johnson, a contributor to Kubuntu. Since Kubuntu uses KDE, Rich has experience through the development cycle of KDE 4. Rich indicated that the average user should probably wait for KDE 4.1.

I'll probably load up one of the more powerful Free Geek computers up with Kubuntu when KDE4 is integrated, and see how it feels.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Jimmy ef'n Carter

Now, I know Carter didn't write this, but it makes a bit too much freakin sense:
I Got What America Needs Right Here

The Onion

I Got What America Needs Right Here

Sometimes I'm a little stupid, maybe, a little slow in the head, so I'm wondering if you can help me get something straight....

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bug Reporting

My friend, K.Mandla got called out on bug reporting. K responded, realizing that K should start doing more bug reporting, to 'give back to the community'. I admired K's response, and still reread K's post on bug reporting.

But, after listening to the recent Linux Action Show podcast (#69), I now question the person that challenged K on bug reporting.

I highly recommend listening to the show. The hosts make some good points on the responsibilities of who should be doing bug reporting. I hope this point gets discussed more throughout the year.